Building: VMP 5 Floor: 2 Room: 2079
Reforming the security sector (police, military, judiciary) is a major endeavour in postwar peace-building. SSR typically refers to the reform, construction or reconstruction of security and justice sector institutions, including oversight and management bodies. It is usually undertaken by a state alongside national and international partners, with the ostensible aim of improving the provision of safety, security and justice to its citizens. SSR is thus a central element of stabilization and state-building strategies worldwide.
National as well as international actors engaged in SSR tend to follow a deeply normative agenda that is oriented at an ideal type of Weberian state. This usually includes a monopoly of the legitimate use of force, the democratic oversight over the security sector, the protection of human rights, and transparent and accountable processes. Instrumental policy guidance for the design and implementation of reform programmes is the seminal Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ‘Handbook on Security System Reform’ and its follow-ups as well as the United Nation’s SSR policy framework that culminated in the UN Security Council Resolution 2151.
Yet, what might be seen as ideal in countries of the Global North, may not work well in non-OECD countries from the Global South. Peacebuilding projects which place the state at the centre of peacebuilding endeavours, and enshrine within it all prospects of sustainable peace, serve to reinforce dominant power relations; marginalising the non-state and, with it, prospects of peace that are meaningful to all beyond dominant and elite groups.
In the panel, we will take a closer look at non-Western attempts of security sector reform that allows a more nuanced analysis identifying similarities and differences shaped by path dependency and specific power relations. We thus encourage paper proposals that critically reflect on the Western ideal type of SSR, and provide alternative insights into peacebuilding from a non-state and non-Western perspective, thus promoting alternatives to a model that has long been proven dysfunctional.